Images of text etched into nickel. Photo: Arch Foundation

After shooting a copy of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy into space with Elon Musk’s roadster, a Texas-based foundation plans to fire a library to the Moon.

Big picture: The Arch Mission Foundation wants to create off-site "data backups for Earth" to preserve our culture so future humans, should they find it, can learn about our mistakes, says co-founder Nova Spivack. The non-profit plans to send microscopic images of Wikipedia and the Rosetta Project — a digital library of human languages — to the Moon in order to establish a "lunar library" there.

How they plan to do it: Information will be etched onto thin, durable nickel films — akin to microfiche in libraries— using a technology developed by Stamper Technology.

"We putting big data in space."
— Nova Spivack

Details:

  • Spivack says they can put 25 million pages on a stack of the films that is roughly the size and shape of a DVD.
  • It wouldn't require a computer to read it.
  • The plan is to carry the library on a lunar lander being developed by startup Astrobotic — which CEO John Thornton described last week as offering "DHL delivery service" to the moon.
  • Target launch date: 2020.
  • It would be located permanently at the lander site on the northeast part of the Moon.
  • Eventually, they hope to add to it and seed information throughout the solar system. (The foundation sent a copy of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy stored on quartz crystals in Elon Musk's spacefaring Roadster.)

Deep questions: Spivack says scientists, artists, historians, anthropologists and others debated what information — the good, the bad and the potentially nefarious — to include in the library. They want it to be representative of different perspectives —"Wikipedia does this in a way," he says.

He'd also like to send DNA from humans and other species eventually, if the technology to store it in space can be developed.

 Our goal is to include everything we've achieved and know.
— Nova Spivack

Parting thought: "Many great civilizations have been lost. It is hubris to think it couldn't happen to us," Spivack says.

Go deeper

7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's China plan: Bring allies

Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden is planning to confront China across the globe, embracing some of President Trump's goals but rejecting his means.

The big picture: By starting a trade war with China, Trump has fundamentally altered the U.S.- China relationship — and forced both Republicans and Democrats to accept a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests
  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  3. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!